The Society is joining the Weddell Sea Expedition as educational partner and will be sharing the expedition’s scientific findings with schools across the UK and internationally through specially written schools resources.
The expedition is heading to the remote and extreme environment of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea to explore one of the least studied places on the planet.
The 45 day voyage, which is supported by the Flotilla Foundation, sets off in January 2019 and will be surveying the underside of the Larson C ice shelf, documenting the marine life of the Weddell Sea and attempting to locate the wreck of Shackleton’s Endurance, which sank there in 1915.
The Weddell Sea Expedition is a perfect opportunity to engage students with geographical science, technology and the need to protect the pristine environment of Antarctica. The international team of researchers, led by Professor Julian Dowdeswell (Scott Polar Research Institute), will be using state of the art technology including Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), aerial drones and satellite remote sensing.
The AUVs in particular will be a key piece of equipment for the team, assisting in surveying the underneath of the Larson C ice sheet, which, in 2017, had one of the biggest iceberg calving events ever recorded. Surveying the ice sheet will inform researchers of the changes in key physical processes occurring here, which in turn can help to understand wider changes occurring in the oceans on a global scale.
The Weddell Sea is inaccessible to commercial fishing vessels due to a huge network of ice floes and the 2.8 million square kilometres of ocean is estimated to be home to over 14,000 animal species.
The Weddell Sea is also the location of the wreck of Endurance, the ship which carried Shackleton’s team in 1914.
Find out more about the Weddell Sea Expedition.